Rejuvenation, Openness at Damascus Film Fest
The 12th Damascus International Film Festival which has changed its slogan to “Rejuvenated Cinema” was opened Saturday with a real openness to the world cinema.
The head of the festival Mohammed Al Ahmed told Agence France Presse, “we were keen on diversity as much as possible as is the case with other festivals. We wanted the festival to be a real international festival that keeps in step with modern age. We sought through various ceremonies and official contests to become familiarized with the types of various modern productions and the international modern cinema trends.”
As an indication on Damascus film festival openness, the festival hosts movies from the American independent producers in addition to films on the history of the Russian cinema which are considered landmarks in this cinema. It also will host different films from the Italian cinema.
The festival also will host an important group of French directors who were critics in the famous magazine Cinema Books and pioneers of the “New Wave” in France headed by Jan Lock Godar, Francois Truffaut, Alan Renier, Jack Revet and Claud Chaprol.
30 Japanese films by the most prominent Japanese directors will participate in the festival. The directors include Bakira Kirosawa, Biojy Yamada, Sigiro Koyama and others.
Moreover, the festival has allocated ceremonies for cinema 2001 for Syria, Egypt and Morocco through screening five new films for each of these countries.
The festival will also screen the most prominent international and Arabic films recently produced and have achieved big success including the film Emily Paulan from France, Circle from Iran, Ready Tiger and Mysterious Dragon, Malina from Italy, Last Message from Syria and Pride Shadows from the US.
Damascus film festival held every two years is now living a process of cooperation with Carthage film festival as the latter highlights the African and Arabic cinema while the former highlights the Asian, Arabic and American Latin films. But this cooperation is under review now in order to make Damascus film festival an independent festival to be held annually.
Actually, this openness has been an inevitable result as the circumstances of world production have changed, therefore, the formal contest of the festival had become weak over the past years, during which the participation was limited to films from regions including Asian, Arabic and Latin American films.
On the other side the Asian cinema in general and the Iranian, Chinese and Japanese cinema in particular has developed to the extent that prompted them to prefer participating in major international festivals such as Venice and Montreal festivals. Meanwhile the Latin American cinema is mostly linked with the west, the fact that has it difficult to secure their participation in the festival.
However, Damascus film festival is making its first step on the way to secure its legitimate international recognition by International Producers Union, which will keep it under monitoring for two or three, more sessions – Albawaba.com